Yo guys how are you? Can you introduce you?
Billy Perry : Thanks Hadrien, I am doing great! My name is Billy Perry, I’m 23 years old from Long Island, New York.
Anthony Panza : I’m well, thank you. Still recovering from this Euro trip, but I’m already missing it. Born and raised on Long Island, NY, I am 20 years old. I ride BMX, travel around the world documenting my life, and I create YouTube videos.
Tell us a little about the euro trip you just finished:
B.P : We just finished up a 3 week FTL trip floating around Copenhagen, Paris, and London. Our main goal was to work on a FTL Trip video which will be out very soon.
A.P : This trip was incredible. Hands down the best trip I’ve been on so far in 2018. Just want to give a huge shout out to Billy Perry for organizing everything, and all the locals for making this journey possible. Three weeks traveling around Europe (Copenhagen, Paris, London) mainly filming for a FTLBMX video part, or should I say “mixtape.” Both Billy and I would also post videos every other day on our YouTube channels, documenting behind the scenes footage in each city. We would ride all day long, film, go back to the apartment at night, either edit or party, and then doing it all over again. There wasn’t a day we had bad weather which was mind blowing to me, so practically everyday we rode. Even if we took the day off we were either editing or recovering from a hangover so we were never really “chilling” haha.
How are the spots in Europe?
B.P :The spots in Copenhagen were unbelievable. Everything was so close and untouched almost. Paris was a crazy experience as well, the spots were a bit more spread out so we pedaled a lot of miles everyday. London was similar to Paris but the underground was easier to use being that everything was in English haha.
A.P : Spots differ each city you travel to. You can’t compare a Copenhagen street spot to something in Paris. The cities are completely different, and that is what I love most about traveling in general. Seeing how different the culture is from one country to another. I do have to say, Copenhagen was probably my favorite city out of the 3 we visited. I plan on visiting all 3 again in the future, however Copenhagen is definitely first on my list. We couldn’t even pedal one mile from our Air BnB without stopping at 5 spots, and these spots practically resembled skateparks.
Paris / Copenhagen?
A.P :Two great cities, totally different like I mentioned above. To anyone planning on visiting/traveling around Europe, I’d highly recommend checking them both out. Copenhagen almost seemed perfect, everything is brand new, the people are very kind, beautiful weather, lots of daylight, and the economy is great. Circling back to the street spots, our tour guide Marcus Diemar would bring us around the city to spots that were so insane, but on the way we’d see so many other ledges, rails, quarter pipes, wall rides etc and he would literally say “that’s not a spot.” We thought it was hilarious because it just goes to show how he is use to the perfect architecture and we are use to the grimy sketchy ledges/rails/banks, that might not have perfect run up, or might be broken, or chipped and etc. We would crack jokes about it the entire trip, but this also shows how different ones riding can be. The population isn’t nearly as close to the amount of people in Paris. It wouldn’t get dark until 11:30PM in Copenhagen, so after a long day of riding we would head back to the place once it was dark and the city would be a ghost town. Paris on the other hand has nearly triple the amount of people. This made it feel more like home which was cool. Lots of pedaling in Paris which definitely tired me out. I remember one morning we rode 7 miles just to get to the first spot, and that day was rough. The language barrier was much worse then Copenhagen, and trying to communicate was a bit difficult. The BMX scene in Paris however is much larger then Copenhagen. We had the chance to check out a few BMX shops which was great. Shoutout Le Comptoir Bike Shop & Paris BMX for holding it down. After the first day or riding, we ended up at the Eiffel Tower and nearly drank 60+ beers. It was a mandatory pit stop and It was a long night to say the least. Great way to start our trip though, I do have to say. Paris reminds me of NYC in so many ways, so it was very easy to adapt. After a long day of riding in the center of the city, we would ride back to our Air BnB and it felt like we were riding from LES to the Bronx. Next time we’ll make sure to book the apartment at a lower elevation haha. Unfortunately we didn’t ride much in the suburbs, which we later found out many spots were in the estates. However La Defense was my favorite part to ride, I could stay at that location all day.
How are the locals there?
B.P : The locals in every city were amazing and showed us an excellent time in their city. Shoutout to Marcus Diemar, PJ Martini, and Tom Edge.
A.P : Each city we visited we had a tour guide. I can’t thank Marcus Diemar (Copenhagen), PJ Martini (Paris), & Tom Egg (London) enough for the hospitality. Without these dudes, the trip wouldn’t have been possible. It was honestly upsetting leaving each and everyone of them after hanging out for a week straight. You build up this homie relationship and don’t want to leave. Going on this trip I had no idea who any of them were. I find it so cool how Social Media can bring such great people together.
How is the culture different from USA?
A.P : A few obvious things I noticed are: Cars are a lot smaller, Europeans use the metric system, school is free (which is unheard of in the US), Europeans eat more varied and balanced meals (smaller portions), everybody loves soccer, and people love to party in the streets (including myself)
You were in Paris when the french soccer team won half final of football world cup , It was a bit crazy in the streets after. Do you have have such popular things in the us?
B.P : Yeah that was a surreal experience, the FTL Euro Trip basically turned into the FTL World Cup tour where every country we were in played while we were there. We wanted to go back to France for the Final but we had to go home. The only thing that comes to mind similar to the World Cup is the Super Bowl in the states. Supposedly the streets of Philly were insane when they won the Super Bowl.
A.P : It was chaotic. Easily one of the craziest experiences I’ve ever encountered. Thankfully I was able to document it all with my camera, and every time I rewatch what went down it only gets better. The next biggest thing in the US in comparison to the World Cup is definitely the Super Bowl, but even then I don’t think it can compare.
So you both come from the east coast, tell us a little about the scene there and how its different from Cali.
B.P : I love the East Coast, Specifically New York. All of our friends and crew are out here. I like California too but it’s not a place I can see myself living. I enjoy visiting the Volume guys for a few weeks during the winter, riding, visiting family and enjoying the nice weather.
A.P : The east coast is wonderful. I’m honestly so grateful for where I was born and raised. Until I realized that I had one of the biggest cities in the world at the palm of my hands, I always told myself that I was going to move to California. However, after visiting a few times my whole perspective changed. I love New York, and everything about it. Even in the winters when It’s super cold, I still try and make the most out of what we have. I like the whole idea of having seasons, and not always being in the same temperature. When it’s cold, I try and travel to someplace warm. The BMX scene is huge here. A lot of people think it died out, but they’re totally wrong. Some days I’ll go out with a few friends to ride, and somehow meet up with 30+ people and takeover the streets. New York is crazy, everything moves so fast and that has a serious influence on the attitude. The city definitely doesn’t sleep, and there is always something to do out here, and that’s what I love about it. The BMX scene is a lot different here compared to California. Spots here are not perfect what so ever. Weather has wear’d and teared. California has way more skateparks that are BMX friendly. Having these facilities definitely helps influence a riders style. Where as in New York you really have to put in your all and fight for what you want I guess? I’m not sure if I’m saying that correctly, but its a lot of work riding here. I feel that in California a lot of riders are so hungry and fight for this little piece of pie in the BMX industry. Here in New York most just ride for fun and aren’t necessarily worried about having a sponsor. I believe that is the most important message you should present. Ride because you love it, not to get sponsored. If you work hard enough, good things will come your way naturally.
You’re both super active on youtube, why and when did you start?
B.P : I’ve been posting YouTube videos on my other channel “BillyRidesADevice” since I was 11 when I first got a cell phone with a camera and a TRV-70 my mom let me use. 2 years ago I remembered how much I loved to make videos and started posting more on my current channel and have been loving it since.
A.P : I’d say about 10 years ago, around 2008. It started off on Facebook, and then I started posting to YouTube, Vine, & eventually Instagram. I always loved seeing myself progress, so filming came along quite well with BMX. Growing up, my friends and I would always make little videos and post them to YouTube. Once we started traveling, that was even more motivation. We never had any sort of crazy camera setup, but that wasn’t even the point. As I started to progress and learn, I focused on spending more time filming videos and eventually started creating “web edits”. Fast forward a few years, I gained multiple sponsors and started gaining a lot more views. I became best pals with Billy and starting posting videos frequently with him on his YouTube channel. They did very well and we noticed the audience was there, and just kept growing. This was even more motivation to keep grinding so we did. Many videos have garnered millions of views, bringing us many jobs, allowing us to travel, and most importantly we were able to connect/meet new people. Here we are today, still doing the same thing and I couldn’t be more thankful.
I saw you were uploading some videos of your trip the day after the action, thats quite a lot of work! Is it hard to produce everytime some content?
B.P : Yeah I’m definitely a bit slower at editing than I would like to be so it can be hard to ride all day and get a video done by the morning before the next session. When I’m on a trip filming all the time it is definitely more motivating to stay caught up with putting videos out.
A.P : For the past year I’ve kinda focused more on my own YouTube channel. I try and post videos as much as I can, and It definitely is a whole other job. Not only am I riding, but also filming throughout the day and then editing everything from that day. I spend hours editing videos, but I love it. It can be hard, and there comes times where I’ll edit a video and If I don’t like it, I just won’t post it, or I’ll loose motivation mid way and just stop editing. I’m not stressing/struggling for content, I want to put out quality content that I enjoy and have fun creating.
Anthony got already 50k subscribers but you, Billy, are at more than 700k. Do you realize it? What does it mean in your day to day life?
B.P : My everyday life is a balance of running FTL, riding, filming, editing, spending time with my girlfriend, friends, and family. I’ve also been on quite a few trips this year which have been keeping me overwhelmingly busy. YouTube and the community on there have opened up many opportunities for me over the last couple of years I am very grateful for.
Can you be pro only with YouTube ?
B.P : I don’t see why not, anything is possible. I was on Volume for many years before being put on Pro and before my YouTube gained a following. Some companies might be against sponsoring a rider if they are just on YouTube, not making full video parts, but there are some companies who probably would not care.
A.P : I feel like being a Professional BMX Athlete, and being a YouTube’r are two complete different things that somehow tie together in some circumstances. However, I believe using Youtube (or any social media) is a great outlet to showcase your skills. Now a days so much new content is coming out daily, what was posted today will be forgotten about tomorrow. It is important to push content out frequently. YouTube is a great tool, not just for BMX but for everything. If you’re a BMX rider and make money from YouTube videos, but don’t have any sponsors I wouldn’t consider you a “Pro BMX Athlete”. Being a Professional Athlete has more value to it then just having a following. Filming video parts, going on trips, riding contest, showing a presence at jams, hanging out with kids, are all very important in building a relationship within the community. You’re attitude and relationship with the company will take you a long way. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re a dick well then you’re a dick.
What do you think of the all vlog fashion? Some riders are totally against but some kids seems to love it!
B.P : I don’t pay any mind to the people trying to bring others down for making vlogs or being a YouTuber. Having a closed mind and trying to contain BMX to your own ideas is not healthy for the growth of the sport and community. The older I get the more I notice a constant trend of people doing new things, others trying to talk down on it, and months later they are doing the same thing they were hating on. All I want to do is ride my bike, have fun, make videos I’m hyped on and get people stoked on BMX.
A.P : People are always going to hate no matter what it is that you do, and thats something you have to learn to accept. Do what you love, who cares what people think. I personally enjoy making videos and BMX ties in perfectly. Social Media has given me so many great opportunities, got me jobs I never would’ve expected, and linked me with people I never thought I’d meet. I’m thankful that I don’t have to work a 9-5 and I can live my dream. There are ways outside of BMX you can make a living. Kids are addicted to social media and the internet. With YouTube you have more of a personal relationship with the viewers, and it gives them the feeling that they’re there with you. Some hate it, some love it, but if I can motivate or help just one person, well then I’ve done my job. Personally, I don’t watch any “BMX vloggers” other then my friends. Some are just so corny and cringey, I can’t get past the first 10 seconds. I’m sure some think the same way about me, but I try to be as real as possible and have fun with it. Anyways, just know that with just a smartphone, you can now make a living.
Merci à Anthony Panza et Billy Perry d'avoir répondu à nos questions!